I see the word “strong” applied to female characters frequently, and in most cases, I agree completely. The thing I think we need to be careful of as book reviewers and bloggers is that that there are many different ways in which a character or person can be strong.
Typically, when I see that term being used in regard to female characters it’s because those characters are warriors, fighters, or able to perform physical tasks that are stereotypically associated with the male gender. That is, of course, a strength. And I’m not saying anything negative about these books, in fact, these are some of my favorites!
But I think it’s important that we aren’t reinforcing the idea that possessing physical strength is the only way in which a girl, or guy, should be strong. Mental and emotional strength are equally important.
As book bloggers, we drive a lot of the initial conversation that is being held about books that are coming out, and the words we use to describe those books are impactful and very important, and in the case of the word “strong,” I think it’s extremely important that we make sure we’re using it in all of its various contexts.
The Merriam-Webster Definition of “Strong”
As you can see, even the dictionary agrees that physical strength is not the only appropriate use of this word.
Books With Strong Female Characters
Books with Physically Strong Female Characters
Books with Mentally Strong Female Characters
Books with Emotionally Strong Female Characters
There are, of course, so many other books that exemplify strength in these areas, and some of the books I’ve included here include female characters who are strong in more than one way.
When I’m writing reviews in the future, I know I’m going to be more conscientious of using this word in all of its various contexts. Will you?
What are some of your favorite books with strong female characters? What are some other ways you can think of in which the word strong is applicable?